Self- Liberation Vs Self- Renunciation in Hedda Gabler
Keywords:Hedda Gabler, Psychological Descent, Opportunities, Self-Renunciation, Existence, Consequences, Conventional Society.
Henrik Ibsen, by using Hedda as the heroine or anti-heroine of the play Hedda Gabler, was clearly attacking a culture which stifled women’s potential and fostered the feelings of entrapment and desperation that Hedda experiences. For all her flaws, the character of Hedda Gabler serves as a potent reminder of the individual’s complex relationship to society and how we today reconcile our own needs with the roles and responsibilities expected of us. In following Hedda’s psychological descent throughout the play, Ibsen was plainly criticizing the lack of acceptable life choices and opportunities for women in nineteenth-century society. The purpose of my research paper is to justify Hedda’s act of suicide as an act of self-liberation vs self-renunciation. Her downfall is ultimately her own doing-she makes the mistake of marrying George for the wrong reasons but she is also a heavily flawed character who unsuccessfully manipulates people in an attempt to negotiate her own weakness. She chooses death not because of any insight she has gained from her mistakes but because she cannot face the consequences of her action. Thus, Hedda’s death is tragic because it is an act of self-renunciation: she is free spirit who cannot be tamed by conventional society.
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